1st Edition

Natural Resources and the Environment Economics, Law, Politics, and Institutions

By Mark Kanazawa Copyright 2021
    356 Pages 101 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    356 Pages 101 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Natural Resources and the Environment: Economics, Law, Politics, and Institutions provides a new approach to the study of environmental and natural resource economics.

    It augments current contributions from the fields of public choice, law, and economics, and the burgeoning field of what used to be called the "New Institutional Economics," to describe, explain, and interpret how these new developments have been applied to better understand the economics of natural resources and the environment. This textbook takes a multi-disciplinary approach, which is essential for understanding complex environmental problems, and examines the issue from not only an economic perspective, but also taking into account law, politics, and institutions. In doing so, it provides students with a realistic understanding of how environmental policy is created and presents a comprehensive examination of real-world environmental policy. The book provides a comprehensive coverage of key issues, including renewable energy, climate change, agriculture, water resources, land conservation, and fisheries, with each chapter accompanied by learning resources, such as recommended further reading, discussion questions, and exercises.

    This textbook is essential reading for students and scholars seeking to build an interdisciplinary understanding of natural resources and the environment.

    1. Introduction

    2. A mini-course in basic economic theory

    3. Valuation

    4. Institutions, property rights, and transaction costs

    5. Common-pool resources

    6. Public choice and the politics of environmental policy

    7. Population

    8. Fossil fuel energy

    9. Climate change

    10. Air and water quality

    11. Energy conservation and energy efficiency

    12. Renewable energy

    13. Agriculture

    14. Water resources

    15. Fisheries

    16. Forests and deforestation

    17. Wildlife, endangered species, and biodiversity

    18. Conclusion: Institutional environmental economics


    Mark Kanazawa is Wadsworth A. Williams Professor of Economics, Carleton College, USA. He is author of Research Methods for Environmental Studies: A Social Science Approach (Routledge 2018) and Golden Rules: The Origins of California Water Law in the Gold Rush (University of Chicago Press 2015).

    “Climate Change, Biodiversity, Population Growth, Endangered Species, Depleted Fisheries, Overharvest of Tropical Forests. These are the environmental and resource issues of the day, but confronting them typically is presented in a far too simplistic and often moralistic manner. The problems are far more complex. Mark Kanazawa provides an important and critically-needed overview of key issues that must be understood, Trade Offs. All policies, even good ones, involve trade offs and something must be given up to accomplish environmental objectives. Incentives. Unless there are proper incentives to reduce pollution or protect biodiversity, it will not happen. How do we get such incentives? Institutions, such as property rights – private, communal, or the opposite, open access, determine the long-term incentives people face in resource use. Public Choice. Government policies are designed and implemented by lobby groups, politicians, bureaucrats. When do they act to provide environmental public goods in a least cost manner? There is really no other volume that addresses these points and ties them together effectively for a more positive understanding of the choices faced and the responses provided. Mark Kanazawa has provided a valuable service in Natural Resources and the Environment: Economics, Law, Politics, and Institutions.”

    Gary Libecap, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Corporate Environmental Management, UC Santa Barbara

    “Kanazawa masterfully uses the concepts from the social sciences and law to tackle the problems that we face in managing natural resources and the environment. Both students and scholars will benefit from the analysis demonstrating that as a society we face economic and political tradeoffs which is why solving our environmental problems is so difficult.”

    Lee J. Alston, Professor of Economics, Indiana University, Research Associate, National Bureau of Economic Research

    “I’ve been searching for a textbook that studies environmental issues with an approach that blends neoclassical economics with institutional analysis and public choice. This is it! Dr. Kanazawa’s book is an excellent and accessible guide for understanding the pressing management and conservation challenges of today.”

    Dominic Parker, Associate Professor, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, University of Wisconsin-Madison

    “This text develops a synthetic conceptual perspective from microeconomics, institutional analysis, and public choice, and then uses this paradigm to help readers understand topical environmental and natural resource policy issues. The text is well organized; the presentational style, lucid and engaging. The pedagogical craftsmanship, unique perspective, and topical range make this work an outstanding contribution.”

    Kerry Krutilla, Professor of Public Policy, O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs

    “The title Natural Resources and the Environment: Economics, Law, Politics, and Institutions accurately encompasses the ambitious goal of this book, namely integrating sound economic analysis with a wide range of approaches and concerns. Kanazawa pulls it off in a superb fashion, explaining well the analytical tools of economics and then using those tools to shed important insights on a variety of environmental issues. The result is a textbook that, because of its range of coverage and analytical rigor, can be used for a wide variety of classes.”

    P. J. Hill, Professor of Economics Emeritus, Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois